Recently, Pinocchio’s conscience marked a milestone of his own as he celebrated fifty years of being the mascot of the USAF 3rd Aerial Port Squadron at Pope AFB in North Carolina.
It was in September of 1959 that Jiminy was featured on the official patch of the 3rd APS. Based on a sketch by Airman 2nd Class Robert Dunlap, the patch was the first ever allowed for the APS as patches were reserved only for flying squadrons up until that point. Of course Jiminy is a copyrighted character owned by Disney so Walt Disney himself authorized the license for Jiminy’s use at a hefty government-esqe fee of $1.
Of course, this isn’t the first or only time an organization has adopted a Disney character as its mascot. A handshake from Walt was the basis of Donald Duck (and look-alike) serving as the mascot of the University of Oregon for decades. Goofy has also been the face of the Olympic team in France.
For more information on the APS and to see more incarnations of the patch, check out this site.